Humankind has been the master of the planet for centuries, and we have tamed almost all threats to our rule and existence. Once in a while, we are reminded that we are not the ultimate rulers of the world, contrary to what we think. A force beyond our control could wreak untold havoc on our civilization. This force cannot be trained nor contained as we have done the others. We can only cower and take cover in its presence; the force is called nature.
As of February 23, 2023, nature again reiterates this lesson through the weather. In the United States of America, the hub of the modern world, weather conditions have quickly spiraled out of normal ranges. This situation is predicted to heavily impact all areas of the country’s economy.
The northern plains of the US are set for record-breaking cold temperatures. An ice storm of unpredictable levels has swept through the regions of Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas, leaving those areas with sub-zero temperatures. Cut Bank, Montana’s temperatures are set to plummet to minus 9 degrees. At the same time, the country’s southeast regions are in the path of a sweltering heat wave. From Texas to the much of the south is cloaked in temperatures above 80 degrees, with McAllen, Texas, breathing a scorching 95 degrees. The stark differences in weather conditions leave the US with temperature differences of up to 100 degrees.
The extreme cold in the north is a herald of the unprecedented storm expected to sweep through the country, bringing heavy snow, high winds, and ice. Over 12 states have been put on winter weather alerts as warnings of severe ice, extreme cold, and sleet that are likely to affect power lines and knock out electricity emerge. This will result in unfavorable travel conditions for the over 65 million people across 29 states. According to the tracking site, FlyAware, more than 1,400 flights scheduled for Wednesday have been canceled. More restrictions on travel are expected to follow as the extreme weather conditions persist.
Ice Storms and High Winds
“Now is the time to prepare for a COLD AND DANGEROUS winter storm expected for much of the week,” the weather service in Los Angeles said. “Gusty and potentially damaging winds are also expected.”
Major parts of the Twin regions and Upper Midwest are blanketed in heavy snowfall, and this has spawned frigid ice storms with wind speeds of 30 to 40 mph. Parts of the Upper Midwest could experience snowfall of 1 to 2 inches per hour, accompanied by wind gusts of up to 50 mph. The National Weather Service warned that a snowy blizzard and high winds might result in whiteout conditions. Those expected conditions have put more than two million people under blizzard warnings across parts of Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas.
AccuWeather meteorologists believe a severe storm will drop towards the south from the Pacific coast, with heavy rains trailing behind it. The weather experts stated that the storm would worst hit the region of Southern California. According to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Heather Zehr;
“Several inches of rain are likely to fall along the south- and west-facing lower elevations of the Coast Ranges in Southern California during the second half of this week, with the heaviest rains [expected] from Thursday night through Friday night.”
AccuWeather also projected the impending storm to deliver a whole month’s measure of rainfall and possibly twice that in some locations. The heavy rain might cause flooding issues and disrupt statewide travel.
The storm is expected to proceed southward as the week continues. The upside is that this will significantly alleviate the drought conditions prevalent in that region.
South Dakota’s governor directed the state’s executive branches to be closed in more than half of its 66 counties. This directive includes plans for employees to work remotely.
Several educational institutions have proceeded to shut down schools and move learning online due to the hazardous weather conditions.